War Toys Photo Essay Pictures
Matthew Callahan is a US Marine and combat correspondent. Typically, he tells military stories through powerful photo essays; but when he isn’t photographing marines, he turns his camera on his stormtrooper toys, creating striking battle scenes for the fine art project Galactic Warfighters.
Drawing inspiration from his real-life experiences, the ‘combat’ images in Galactic Warfighters bleed authenticity. In one image, dust and debris flies through the frame as a stormtrooper crouches behind a barrier; in another, two troopers rush a wounded soldier off the battlefield; another shows three troopers resting against a bullet riddled wall.
What brings these images to life isn’t just the composition, but the posing and the spirit behind them. As Callahan explains in the short Behind the Scenes doc below, he’ll use iconic combat images or stand in himself to ensure accuracy, recreating a scene that is “spiritually” accurate if not photographically so.
Each image can take anywhere from 20 minute or 20 hours to create. He meticulously poses his figures—collectible action figures with amazing range of motion from Sideshow Collectibles in California that he tells PetaPixel he “beats the hell out of”—to show as much body language and expression as possible despite their helmets. That posing and framing piece actually takes the most time.
Once he’s finished an image, he’ll add a photojournalism-style caption to it. The image at the top isn’t just stormtroopers carrying a wounded soldier off the field. The full description goes:
Clone troopers rush a gravely wounded soldier to a casualty evacuation point at an undisclosed location. Republic gunships hovered over the troopers to provide close air support until the CASEVAC low altitude assault transport came on station.
Advanced recon commandos were embedded with clones assigned to the 104th Bn. and are seen assisting in the evacuation.
See more of Callahan’s images, including the creative captions, below:
Portrait of a Galactic Warfighter: “Most of the time we go out, we walk around; we give money to the locals to build stuff and we come back. The separatists know we’re here, but we’re not sure when they’re gonna come out and play. We’ll wait.”
Tactical Pause: Clone troopers rest against a bullet-ridden wall after returning from an 8-hour foot patrol outside their forward operating base. They say sleep is a luxury rarely granted. They take it when they can get it.
Take cover: A Clone Commander takes cover as enemy sniper fire grazes his position.
Clone Commander Wolffe drags a wounded clone out of a kill zone after being ambushed by separatist forces.
A Helping Hand: Advanced Reconnaissance Commandos make their way up a mountain to establish a looking/observing post for their battalion’s forward operating base below.
Backblast Area CLEAR! Advanced Recon and Airborne Commandos fire a Mk 153 shoulder-fired multi-purpose assault weapon during joint weapons system familiarization training. The projectile explosive weapon is used to bust tanks and bunkers for light infantry. The troopers worked together as gunners and assistant gunners to get used to operating in the same environment together for future operations.
A small room: Advanced Recon Commandos herd droids into a compound and await extraction after raiding a suspected Separatist intelligence cell in Mos Eisley, Tatooine.
The Last Patrol: Advanced Recon Commandos rush to cover after being ambushed by separatist forces. The troopers were conducting a security patrol outside their company forward operating base when the droid forces attacked.
Scars: A reflection of the fatigue and doubt troopers may have when faced with back-to-back deployments to a combat zone.
If you want to explore more images from the Galactic Warfighters series, give the official Instagram account a follow. And if you’d like to see more of Callahan’s work—toy stormtroopers and otherwise—be sure to visit his website of follow him on Instagram and Facebook.
(via SLR Lounge via My Modern Met)
Image credits: Photos by Matthew Callahan and used with permission.
Marine Sgt. Matthew Callahan, a combat correspondent and former infantryman, has created a photo essay using small Star Wars action figures to portray intense combat scenes and breath life into the grunts of of the Star Wars universe.
Callahan is well positioned to tell a fictional story of wartime service behind Star Wars characters. His Marine Corps career career began six years ago, when he enlisted as an infantryman. Shortly into his first deployment to Afghanistan with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, he broke his leg and was sent home to recover at Wounded Warrior Battalion-West’s Hawaii detachment. While there, he learned photography and transitioned from the infantry to become a Marine combat correspondent.
Callahan is currently attending photojournalism training at Syracuse University as part of a Department of Defense program there. Outside of his studies and his work with the Marine Corps, Callahan has started this Star Wars project. Callahan’s work does not just create a life-like and moving scene from a plastic toy, it presents a humanity to the faceless Storm Troopers and other characters that, for decades, have been faceless icons in the American consciousness. With an infantry Marine’s perspective and a talented photographer’s skills, Callahan creates spectacular battle scenes and portraits of the fighters.
He titled his essay “Galactic Warfighters.” In this Instagram post, he poses with one of his action figures.
“I feel being a former infantryman gives me a better perspective and will serve me well in telling the stories of Marines from the ground combat element especially,” Callahan told Business Insider in 2013. “Civilians have a genuine interest in knowing about the ins and outs of Marine life and I have a genuine desire to tell them. It’s incredibly satisfying and a wicked good time.”
Follow Callahan on Instagram at bridgingthe__gap
See more of Callahan’s work here.
Here are some of his scenes from “Galactic Warfighter.”
A Clone Commander takes cover as enemy sniper fire grazes his position.
A Clone Commander drags a wounded clone out of a kill zone after being ambushed by separatist forces.
Advanced Reconnaissance Commandos make their way up a mountainside to stand up a listening/observation post for their battalion’s forward operating base in the valley below.
Portrait of a Galactic Warfighter: “I think the longest I stayed put was about 10 or 11 days scouting a separatist forward operating base. The brush starts talking to you after a while.”
Advanced Recon and Airborne Commandos fire a Mk 153 shoulder-fired multi-purpose assault weapon during joint weapons system familiarization training. The projectile explosive weapon is used to bust tanks and bunkers for light infantry. The troopers worked together as gunners and assistant gunners to get used to operating in the same environment together for future operations.
Portrait of a Galactic Warfighter: “Our radios never work. They spent all this time training us, making us, and they couldn’t issue us good comms.”
Advanced recon commandos stack up on a compound wall and make entry to eliminate a suspected Separatist intelligence cell in Mos Eisley, Tatooine.